Effect of COVID-19 on the recruitment and onboarding of new employees

The coronavirus has had a massive impact on businesses and the recruitment industry has not been immune to it. With over a billion people out of jobs worldwide, according to the World Bank and recruitment rates as fallen to lower rates than in 2009 when the global financial crisis occurred.

It is clear that this pandemic will not end soon, and the future of businesses and recruitment may forever be changed. As there has been a downturn for many industries, some industries are still hiring – industries like eCommerce and cybersecurity have seen an increase in hiring.

These are the effects of the pandemic on recruitment and onboarding

Long term change to workplace practice

Across the whole world, workplaces, event spaces, public transport are empty and silent as companies and anywhere that lets people amass together have shut down; including schools. Whichever way this virus progresses, many organizations are doing everything they can to contain the effects of the coronavirus and lessen the impact on their workforce; as these effects have a lasting pull on workplace practices.

Employers have to think outside the box in order to manage a rapidly evolving crisis. Businesses across the world are increasingly reducing business travel, encouraging remote working and having to be fluid as they keep up to date with public health advice. An unprecedented number of people have to work remotely and self-isolate as governments encourage work and school from home. This change will cause a shift in the way companies to integrate new staff into their workforce. This includes the forced adaptation of new technologies that allow for remote work and collaboration.

Remote online integrations necessitated by the pandemic

For businesses that already started the onboarding process before the full onset of the Coronavirus, they would have been forced to stop the process halfway and begin working on adaptations or workarounds for the process. That is if the onboarding can still take place at all.

This is where the use of various technologies comes into play. While the recruitment process has traditionally been carried out in person, using available tools online has made this an easy switch.

However, an extra faction now comes into play for the new hire themselves. The question that needs to be asked is if the new employee can function remotely. For critical roles that require physical presence, this new hire can be designated as essential services. But for roles that do not require physical presence, the ability to work remotely is called into question.

The flexible time frame for onboarding

The basics for any onboarding program include formulating the procedures ahead of time; setting up a mentor system for new hires; and having a standard procedure to set up training sessions. Remote may add further challenges to the process as a typical onboarding is usually lengthy. The HR department will need to set up a video conference call and introduce the team and emails and videos will have to produce that lists the company’s product information, specific to the company knowledge and possibly, a welcome letter from the CEO.

The length of onboarding may be lengthy depending on the person’s role in the company. Since there won’t be the luxury of physical interactions, the more frequent video meetings, the better for the employee, to ensure the new employee connects fully to the company.

Collaboration between HR and IT for online training will be key

In a remote environment, the HR and IT need to work seamlessly hand in hand to provide a seamless experience for onboarding. They can use sophisticated apps that provide the employee with key details they need to be successful in their jobs.

A prearranged and onboarding plan, a task calendar and video conferencing software can help HR and It streamlines the online learning process for new hires. They should also incorporate video recordings and setting up consistent online training sessions and consistent online training procedures.

CEOs will need transparency

Those starting a new job during the COVID-19 pandemic may feel especially uncertain, which makes transparency from company leadership crucial.

Leadership needs to communicate on a regular basis to both reassure employees and provide them with ongoing updates that may change the way the employee and the company operates. Employers should have sharable operational procedures for remote work during a crisis, which include clear guidelines on emergencies for the employee, and chain of command.

Nurturing culture gets more challenging in dispersed workplaces

Culture is vulnerable in times of crisis when decisions are made on the fly and financial survival takes priority over almost everything else.

Unfortunately, culture is impossible to automate – there is no technology solution that can preserve and enhance organizational culture. Employee engagement, constant communication and demonstrated commitment to your culture by leadership are the tools that will work.

It’s hard to put culture at the top of HRs priority list while you are putting out fires every day. But, if anything, culture is even more important now and can hold the organization together over the long term.

Compliance with labour laws

With the number of people working remotely exploding, employers face new policy issues, and potentially, very real employment law concerns.

An example would be, how to fire when the new employee is no longer needed and they have not worked a day. Will the employee be paid for the job offer or not paid anything. New laws are being put in place to protect employees and the HR will need to be abreast as they develop.

Taking effective action requires leaders to conduct advanced planning and make strategic management decisions, all of which will rely heavily on the advice and insight only HR can provide.


written by NEWcruitment Switzerland, the Leading Technology Talent Agency Specializing in Senior IT Architects and IT Engineers in Switzerland

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